Michelin Guide: Osechi Ryori

  • Spot illustrations created for Michelin Guide Singapore, introducing the hidden meanings behind Osechi Ryori (Japanese New Year Food). Read the article here.
  • Ebi (エビ, Shrimp)
    Ebi are a symbol of longevity, because their curved body looks like the bent back of the elderly.
  • Kazunoko (数の子, Herring Roe)
    Kazunoko contains many tiny eggs in a tight cluster and symbolises fertility.
  • Konbu-maki (昆布巻き, Seaweed Rolls)
    The word Konbu is a Japanese homonym for the word Yorokobu (喜ぶ), meaning 'joy'.
  • Gobo (ごぼう, Burdock Root)
     Gobo has long, tough fibers, which symbolise perseverance.
  • Datemaki (伊達巻, Sweet Rolled Omelette)
     Because Datemaki resembles paper scrolls, the dish is said to represent knowledge and learning.
  • Kuromame (黒豆, Black Beans)
    Kuromame are a symbol of hard work, because the Japanese have a saying: mameni-hataraku (マメに働く, work hard).
    It also connotes being healthy enough to work hard.
  • Kotaku Kamaboko (紅白蒲鉾, Red and White Fish Cake)
    The shape of Kamaboko is said to resemble the first sunrise of the New Year. 
    In addition, red is believed to be a talisman against evil, while white signifies purity.
  • Kuri-kinton (栗きんとん, Sweet Mashed Chestnuts)
    The word 'kinton' means golden dumpling and is used to symbolise wealth and fortune.
  • Tazukuri (田作り, Candied Sardines)
    Tazukuri is a symbol of abundant harvest, because the fish were historically used to fertilize rice fields.